In today’s America, there’s no safe space from politics. From kneeling at NFL games to disgusting scenes at NASCAR races and snooze-fest speeches at Hollywood awards shows, Americans are pummeled with hyperbolic, intensely-partisan rhetoric even when they intentionally seek to escape it. And it’s all a result of the use and abuse of identity politics.
Like caffeine, alcohol, or drugs, identity politics has become the addiction of American politicians for some years now. Winning at the expense of fundamental principles has become everything. Abandonment of platforms and promises? Fine, as long as the party wins. Willingness to score cheap-shot on opponents? Fine, as long as a ‘W’ resides in the win column. Promise everything to everyone based on gender, race, economic status, or religion? As long as you can pass the blame for incompletion on to your opponent later.
Much of the alarming nature of this tendency is dismissed because Congress has been reduced to only a Moneyball-esque game of numbers, not persuasion. Gone are the days when speaking on the floors of Congress amounted to any measurable persuasion of votes. Modernity has weathered the procedure of Congress so much so that it has almost rendered itself incapable of conducting the people’s affairs, in any meaningful capacity, especially amid a global pandemic.
Rhetoric and cheap one-liners of utter insincerity now rule our days and the never-ending news cycles of vitriol and sensationalism reign supreme. This tendency nurtured knowingly and unknowingly by America’s major political parties, will remain America’s Kryptonite - the famed fictional substance known to weaken one of America’s most beloved superheroes, Superman, is akin to one of the many core illnesses damaging our country’s ability to live out its greatest potential and spread the most good around the globe.
Identity politics is today’s Kryptonite and it’s eroding every facet of our national wellbeing.
The solution is simply stated but arduously lived-out. Conservatives have long-rejected the invasiveness of identity politics but recently succumbed to it after staggering defeats by the likes of President Obama and now fighting the necessary battle from the onslaught of deep state actors and status quo engineers.
It’s not surprising that Republicans are eager to win at all costs - even if that means playing into the identity politics ruse. Election after election, Republicans have taken the higher roads and sought resolution within the inefficiencies of democracy only to realize that their attempts to play by-the-book were fruitless and exhausting.
In fighting fire with proverbial and reciprocal fire, Republicans are misguided but not lost. They now have a chance to turn the tides on the corrosive elements of identity politics and win where conservatives have always won: on the issues.
It’s not that conservative ideas don’t win the day with voters, it’s that Republican-branded issues draw the most attention out of the realm of persuasion and into the media’s frying pan.
Republicans in Congress should relentlessly rebuke identity politics by demanding that internal congressional reforms be implemented expeditiously and in favor of single-subject, germane, and budget-balanced proposals - coupled with an aggressive push to implore persuasive debate and honest voting practices.
But how to fight the ridiculous, needless and relentless onslaught of liberal academia and media wading into every facet of American life? Would it shock one to suggest that conservatives again return to the tactic of leading by example and winning on the persuasion front?
Instead of embracing the tactics that have won so-called “woke” Democrats seats in our eroded and ineffectual chambers, conservatives must recenter their messaging, and thereby the authenticity it evokes, on the values of balanced budgets, honest and thorough debates, and the ability to legitimately persuade and win congressional floor debates - not just vomit talking points and platitudes for cheap election one-liners and campaign commercials.
Conservative ideas have always been bold ways to build upon hard-earned advances in social and economic life. The record is clear. They led the fight for civil rights expansion when Democrats remained entrenched and reluctant. The likes of Jack Kemp, George W. Bush, and President Trump have implored historically Democrat voter populations to give conservative politics a try. But to succeed in winning these votes is to offer something different, something of substance, and a proven way to prosperity and security.
To embrace a modern progressive’s way of winning elections is to reinforce the perceived laziness of America’s electorate. Conservatives must reject the urge to swallow the Kryptonite of identity politics and instead run full-steam ahead toward those voters yearning for new ideas and approaches to entrenched issues - not just the flip-side regurgitation of so-called balanced media outlets.
Earning votes should still mean something in America and conservatives should honor the responsibility to hold the line and guide America back to a better, smaller, and more efficient government.